Heavily promoted as Paul Haggis’ first action flick, employing the A-listers Russell Crowe and Liam Nisson, The Next Three Days falls into the basket case category. The redeeming factor, however, is that it is miss-marketed and does not rightfully belong in the action genre. It is not a total loss as a memorable movie experience—reviews to the contrary. It is only a total write-off as an action flick due to serious flaws in the structure, tempo and plausibility. Viewed as a love story, however, this film is memorable as it makes a powerful statement.
John Brennan (Russell Crowe) and his wife Lara (Elizabeth Banks) are happy together, pursuing their professional careers and raising their son. Their life seems perfect when Lara is suddenly arrested and all too quickly convicted for a murder she says she didn’t commit. With Lara imprisoned, John is struggling to raise their son and hold his teaching position at the college while doing all he can to prove Lara’s innocence. The time is running out. Struck down by the rejection of their final appeal, Lara attempts suicide. In desperation, three years into the sentence and with no hope for just recourse, John decides to break his wife out of prison.
Despite the impossible odds, such as a truly catastrophic lack of intel, resources or experience, John forges on with his plan which promptly fails. Having nearly escaped prison himself as the result and risking everything he has, John pushes forward with the second plan. Ill conceived and flawed, executed at a feverish pitch as a concatenation of miracles, the plan nonetheless works. John pulls it all off by the skin of his teeth and saves his wife, their child, their freedom and their marriage.
Brian Dennehy is noteworthy as John’s father, whose unconditional love and support for his son adds power to the main thrust of the entire film.
Although the subject of unconditional love and overcoming insurmountable obstacles for the right to be with the one we love is the most heavily traveled path in the history of mankind, it is not lost on us. It hits the spot and strikes a cord. It is not trite, especially as the highly emotionally charged romantic line is intertwined with the elements of action, suspense, the underdog and injustice matters and involves actors, such as, Russell Crowe, Elizabeth Banks and Brian Dennehy.
In the final count The Next Three Days is well worth seeing as an eternal story of the triumph of love.
Michael Priv was born in the Soviet Ukraine; he escaped to the USA at the age of 19. A Civil Engineer by education and a Construction Business Consultant by trade, for many years he has been an avid student of Eastern philosophies, especially Tao and Buddhism—particularly as they apply to the resolution of everyday problems. Michael has recently published his first novel Friends of Fred. See Michael’s short stories and novels at http://www.ThetaWrite.com.
E-mail Mr. Priv at email@example.com.